Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where to begin with HD's defense of Spaz?

I like ESPN ACC Blogger Heather Dinich but today was not one of her better days. She posted something in defense of Spaz that has so many holes and logic missteps that I felt I had to take it apart piece by piece. Her portions will be bold. My responses will be followed by italics.

Boston College fans have been quick to criticize coach Frank Spaziani after the program’s 2-5 start.

Too quick.

Boston College is heading towards its first losing season since 1998, but it didn’t happen overnight -- and it didn’t happen under Spaziani’s watch. It’s important to remember how the Eagles got here -- a combination of poor recruiting, deflections, coaching changes and injuries.

I challenge anyone who says that this season and decline didn't happen on Spaz's watch. He has been the coach for two years and everyone of these five losses. Whose watch did it happen on? How is he blameless in all of this? Spaz has been at BC for 14 years, a coordinator for 10 and head coach for two. It wasn't like he was some intern getting donuts. He was deeply involved in most of the coaching and recruiting.

Plus the attrition and injuries happen at every school in the country. It is part of any head coach's job.

Former coach Jeff Jagodzinski came from the NFL, where coaching was enough. Recruiting wasn’t his top priority, and it’s showing now. Only 20 of the 44 players BC brought in during the 2007 and 2008 recruiting classes are still in the program.

The narrative about Jags recruiting is so subjective that I won't spend time on it. But I will challenge the 20 of 44 number (45%). I don't know where HD got it (I assume someone from BC). The actual stat is different. Those two classes had 47 signees and 27 of those players are still in the program (54%). (I will get back to attrition as a post script to this all later.)

The transfer of tailback Josh Haden put the burden on Montel Harris, who has done his best to carry the load.

Haden was/is a nonfactor. Harris is leading the ACC in rushing. His workload is not the reason we cannot score points.

More importantly, there has been a significant drop-off in the number of offensive linemen that were recruited. The position, once a strength and part of BC’s tradition, is now incredibly thin.

The OL has been a problem, but depth is not the issue of 2010. We had four returning starters, a parttime starter returning in Cleary and an experienced backup at Center in Spinney. Yet as a group they've been lost, overwhelmed and not cohesive.

The quarterback position has been equally as troublesome. Dominique Davis, Chris Johnson and Justin Tuggle are gone, and Codi Boek has been moved to fullback.

Davis and Tuggle are gone because they were ultimately told they didn't have a future at BC. Spaz and his offensive staff could have kept both. But regardless of what happened with them, is their absence the reason our offense has struggled and regressed? Are they the reason we are tipping plays?

Enter Dave Shinskie. Exit Dave Shinskie. Enter true freshman Chase Rettig. It’s going to take some time before he develops into the quarterback those inside and out of the program expect him to be.

How can anyone but Spaz be responsible for Dave Shinskie? Shinskie was not inherited. Jags and TOB had nothing to do with him. It was Spaz's decisions to hand the job to Shinskie last year. It was Spaz's job to monitor and judge his progress. It was Spaz who decided to go with Shinskie at the start of the season without giving Rettig time in our first two games (despite the doubts the staff had about Shinskie).

The Shinskie situation had its upside (last year) and downside (this year) but it is all Spaz.

Injuries have decimated the defense. Last year it was linebackers Mike McLaughlin and the horrific news of Mark Herzlich’s cancer. This year the Eagles lost their top receiver, Colin Larmond Jr., before the season even started, and now their top pass rusher, defensive end Alex Albright, is out for the season with a fractured fibula.

Why are we bringing up 2009 injuries? What does McLaughlin have to do with this year? Mark's battle with cancer was devastating but isn't the reason we are struggling now. In fact, I think Mark's play and contributions have been 'house money.' Larmond's injury was a big deal for this year. Finally a point for HD. Albright's injury was also bad luck but he played in these games we lost.

Spaziani is the program’s third head coach in four years. The coaches have changed, and the recruiting philosophies have changed. With Spaziani at the helm, though, they’ve changed for the better.

I've harped on this before but the coaches and recruiting philosophies haven't changed. 60% of our staff has been here four years, which is very healthy for college football. Our director of football ops and our strength and conditioning coach are the same. We've had the same recruiting coordinator for four years. Is that change?

Possibly the worst thing that could have happened to him last year was to win eight games. Not enough people realize what an accomplishment that was, considering all of the obstacles Spaziani was faced with. It was a Coach of the Year-worthy performance.

This year, there’s simply no more miracles. Boston College has one of the worst offenses in the country. It’s not going to change in the next five weeks.

Especially when it took a few years to reach this point.

The eight wins in 2009 was the best thing that could have happened to Spaz. If we had a 2-10 season last year and followed it with our current stinker, Spaz's seat would be on fire. 2009 bought him some good will that he will need soon.

HD finally mentions that BC has one of the worst offenses in the country. I didn't come into this year thinking we would score at will but there were enough pieces (Harris, the returning OL, the deep TEs) to put together a more consistent attack.

Post Script

I want to focus on HD's point about attrition. I sense this becoming part of the excuse narrative to shift blame away from Spaz. It really is hollow though. Attrition is normal for college football. At any time there should be five recruiting classes worth of players contributing to one season. It is up to the staff to find the best players, put them in the right spots, make them better and give them a good game plan. But for comparison let's look attrition during two past BC seasons.

First 2008 (Jags's second year). I tried to make the comparison as relevant as the 2008 and 2007 classes are to Spaz's 2010 season, so I looked at the 2005 and 2006 classes.

2005 Class
Paul Anderson
Marcellus Bowman
Brendan Deska
Austin Giles
Rich Gunnell
Andre Jones
Mike McLaughlin
Clarence Megwa
Jim Ramella
Nick Rossi
Pat Sheil
Allan Smith
Brady Smith
Razzie Smith
Matt Tennant
15 signees and only 9 were on the roster in 2008.

2006 Class
Alex Albright
Ross Applegate
Darius Bagan
Thomas Claiborne
Wes Davis
Bill Flutie
Chris Fox
Jack Geiser
Reshaude Goodwyn
Mark Herzlich
Justin Jarvis
Rich lapham
Ryan lindsey
James McCluskey
Jordon McMichael
Josh Neubert
Roderick Rollins
Damik Scafe
Jeff Smith
Warren Wilson
20 signees and 15 were on the roster in 2008

Look at those names. Some were stars. Some barely played in 2008 but were still around. At the end of the day, their attrition 68% was better than Spaz's current 57%. However, bodies matter more than percentage and Spaz has 27 guys playing for him from those classes while Jags only had 24.

But let's also look at one of TOB's season. I picked 2003 since that was a year where we struggled with QB issues and rallied late to turn the season around. For this to compare to Spaz, I selected the 2000 and 2001 classes.

Grant Adams
Sydney Baskins
Eric Boatwright
Robert Bennett
Anthony Crosson
Doug Goodwin
Joel Hazard
Justin Hinds
Myran Hunter
David Kashetta
Phil Mettling
Haven Perkins
Peter Shean
Chris Snee
T.J. Stancil
Jordan Stockwell
Joe Tyburczy
17 signees and only 9 were on the roster in 2003.

2001 Class
Brandon Brokaw
Tim Bulman
Nathanael Hasselbeck
Chris Hathy
Ray Henderson
Mathias Kiwanuka
Larry Lester
Patrick McShane
Chris Miller
Jon Misiewicz
Jeff Parros
Quinton Porter
Pat Ross
Jeremy Trueblood
Jazzmen Williams
15 signees and 12 were on the roster in 2003.

This group had an attrition rate of 65%. Healthier than Spaz's current but not as good as Jags' dealt with in 2008. Yet once again there were only 21 players from these classes on the roster in 2003.

I don't want to go player by player, but look back at those classes. There is a mix of talent and busts as there always is with recruiting. We are not the most talented team in the country but our talent level is not drastically different from some other BC transition years. The difference between now and those years is how we are using the talent.


Walter said...

Nice post, great indepth analysis.

sujit said...

Great post. Is there any way you can make sure HD reads this? I'm afraid the terrible excuses she poses become the recurring theme for why no change hits this program heading into next year.

ObserverCollege said...

ATL, there’s a reason I read Blaudschun and Dinich before I ever read you. They practice actual journalism, which requires skills you failed to develop as you were busy learning “HTML” and “critical thinking” and “analysis”.
Blaudschun and Dinich, who write for nationally-read outlets, actually paid attention during their stenography courses in journalism school. They learned how to take down each word of each talking point. They understand that if they spend their moments “critically evaluating” or “questioning” Coach Spaziani’s statements, then they will miss a key point about how Coach Tranquill is stuck using inexperienced quarterbacks two years in a row.

You can talk about how Coach Spaziani has been at BC since 1997, or how he chose to run off ECU’s starting QB, or how he failed to give reps to Rettig. But talking about, say, Rettig’s presence in January means you miss Coach Tranquill and Coach Spaziani’s talking point that Rettig is a true freshman. If you ignore your job to “present the unvarnished quote”, as Katherine Gibbs so elegantly puts it, then you interfere with Spaziani’s ability to communicate publicly. You don’t let Spaziani and Tranquill plant the seed that “true freshman” equals “only showed up in August”. Instead, you inject unhelpful thoughts about why Rettig wasn’t ramped up more, forcing unhelpful questions into the BC community’s consciousness. The result, ultimately, could be a community that starts assaulting Coach Spaziani and Coach Tranquill’s retirement plan.

Do YOU want that responsibility, ATL? I know you’re a young ‘un and don’t “do” the 401-k thing, but if you’d take a moment to do some stenography with Alicia Munnell at the BC Center for Retirement Research, you would learn that we’ve had about 10 LOST YEARS in retirement savings. Losses coaches never could have anticipated (except for TOB in December 2006 of course). Losses that Munnell says people must overcome by working longer.

But no, you don’t want to let Spaziani and Tranquill work longer. Your focus on “analysis” results in a draconian blitzkrieg against their retirement, so they’ll be forced to eat not even the Early Bird dinner at Salvatore’s in Naples (FL), but rather the Sbarro with their ENTERTAINMENT COUPON!!!

If that happens, the sauce won’t be on Blaudschun and Dinich’s hands. It will be on yours, ATL. YOURS.

Big Jack Krack said...

Many of us thought that we had a chance for a very good year this year. Anywhere from 8 and 4 to 10 and 2 and a trip to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game, etc.
The pessimists/worst case scenario guys had us at 6 and 6, I think.

Personally, I worried about Tranquill's Offense, but thought we had enough talent to push through that.

I don't think that we were all stupid.

I didn't figure on the regression we are witnessing. Coaching is definitely deficient at Boston College right now.

Also, decisions that should have been made (start Rettig from Game 1; set the offensive line properly, etc) were not made.

Perhaps we didn't see how thin we really were at WR, but Larmond's injury exposed problems. Still, good coaching would have brought us better results.

I'm sick over this season - we are close to being or already are the laughing stock of college football - currently ranked 99th, behind such powerhouses as (to name some) Delaware, Stephen F. Austin, Villanova, Toledo, William and Mary, New Hampshire, Wyoming, Montana State, Western Illinois, Chattanooga, Virginia, Connecticut, James Madison, Montana and Wofford.

Take a long look in the mirror, Sapaziani. We do not enjoy - and will not tolerate being a laughing stock with the worst offense in college football.

Would you kindly at least try to win a game?

It's a Long Way to Tipperary - but it shouldn't have been this way.

Big Jack Krack said...

Observer College - you crack me up.

Follow up to last post - Why did the USC Trojans go with a true freshman QB Matt Barkley last year? After all - he was a true freshman!!!! Surely a storied program such as USC would have had more worthy upperclassmen to play at QB. Maybe the answer was simple - Barkley was better than the others - do you think?

That logic doesn't apply to Spaziani and Tranquill.

Alex L. said...

Well said, Bill. I think people pick on HD too much, but she's just flat out wrong in this case.

As I have said many times before, while recruiting could have been better under Jags, this year's problems are all on Spaz and Tranq.

blist said...

Great post ATL.
HD is just running with what someone at BC is telling her - and judging by the comments on the broadcasts and in the papers basically echoing many of the same things HD says - it's clear someone at BC if working overtime to defend Spaz. I'm not sure that's a great sign (although probably good to present a united front for recruiting etc).
Besides, anyone who watched our games has to see coaching is a problem.

mod34b said...

ATL --

I like your analysis. HD is a clown. She knows nothing about football, nothing about sports journalism (oxymoron??) and less about BC.

But as Blist's post suggests, the story behind the story is the story. (I sound like Yogi Berra or Joe Biden!)

Who at BC is selling this crap to ESPN? Will the rest of ESPN now adopt this as the bogus story line about BC?

Recall that two days ago, via Blaudy, Spaz was spinning about why BC might have its first losing season since 1998.

“I’ve been out front with these problems since Day 1,’’ said Spaziani. “I know I have my mind in the right frame.’’

In other words, Spaz is comfortable blaming his horrible coaching on someone or something else! There will be no "Man Up" from Spaz.

I bet Spaz (or one of his toadies) is probably HD's source. I can't see a strong motive for GDF or anyone else at BC pushing this story now.

Observer College -- welcome back... you are actually funny this time around!

A33Jim said...

I was wondering what happened to ObserverCollege, haven't seen him post lately.

Maybe because this season is so much of a farce already?

Sanitee said...

MEMORIES - I'm going through some old papers and I came across an article from 2007 in the eight week of the football season about the national rankings of the teams: 2007, week 8, BC two in the nation on all polls. How the mighty have fallen.

Two to one hundred two - Spazziani must take the credit for most of the fall.

Eagle 1 said...

I think ATL just teabagged Heather.

ktomas67 said...

Coaching regimes have been a big issue.

The offensive line has had 3 coaches in 4 years. THEY HAVE HAD 3 DIFFERENT COACHING PHILOSOPHIES. If not for a meeting of the seniors last year before the season they would have left.

The quarterbacks have had 3 coaches all with different philosophies. Bible was a traditional pass coach. Logan brought in a more mobile qb game and Tranq is now finding what he can do with what he has until he can really get HIS own people. Tranq didn't fall on a 1st round draft pick like Logan did.

RECRUITMENT IS DONE BY EACH INDIVIDUAL COACH. If there are different coordinators, there are different recruiting plans. While a recruitment coordinator deals with them when they come, each coach recruits differently. SO YES, since Siravo has been there as head recruiting coordinator, the assistant coordinator is new and GAs are always new. So all that means is they have been brought to the same restaurants, same hotels and the same tours of campus. However how to recruit the players they want as well as who to recruit has changed drastically.. 3 times... over the past 4 years. Hard to to run a traditional pass offense when you recruited and taught those for a running qb offense. Go back to the 10th row of the stands and keep coaching from the stands

JUST FOR YOU. Stay in the stands or BC will never win a bowl game again.

John said...

Great post from Big Jack Crack - Season tickets holders (and I am one) will not tolerate another season like this one. I hope BC understands this. We demand and expect more. This season also make me sick as I had such high hopes.

downtown_resident said...

I do think a couple of these points are strained. I find it hard to imagine that Spaz had veto authority, let alone was even consulted, regarding Jags' and Logan's QB and WR recruits. Moreover, my understanding of the Davis situation was that he was booted due to academics, not because the coaches thought he couldn't cut it on the field, as is implied here.

That said, I don't think you need to get to those points to arrive at the conclusion that a coaching shakeup is necessary. The dramatic decline of the OL, TE and QB and to some extent the DB/LB (at least regarding pass coverage) personnel-- all pretty much the same guys as last year-- is a bright red flag regarding coaching. Obviously so are the FOUR times this year either an opponent or one of our players commented that the opposing defense seemed to know exactly what was coming at them.

BJK is right that so many of us looked at the players we had returning and the favorable schedule and saw 9-10 wins. Perhaps we ignored the deficiency at WR and even QB-- which I think is more on Jags than Spaz-- but I still don't see how that results in what is shaping up to be a season in which we win half as many games as last year.

Thomas said...

ktomas67, your real name is Gene or Frank - which is it?

BCDoubleEagle said...


October 27, 2001
BC 21, Notre Dame 17

William Green rushed for 195 yards, scoring on a 71-yard run and a 70-yard pass play, and the BC defense recorded three sacks, including one on ND's final offensive play in the closing seconds.

mod34b said...

While Ktomas is a bit of an apologist of the present regime, he does make some good points.

Ktomas, how do you explain how everything has gone to the dogs this year?

Defensive Cyborgs said...

observer college, you are the best. keep 'em coming. atl, i want another post about OC soon. i love reading how those incapable of understanding his genius respond.

Andrew said...

KThomas is a clown

Claver2010 said...

ATL, great post. I almost went through the roof at my office when I read that yesterday. GDF & Spaz are lucky they weren't a part of Ice Jam, they would have received a nice Bronx cheer.

Big Jack Krack said...

KThomas - thanks for your points. Let's look at one or two of them.

The offensive line has had 3 coaches in 4 years. THEY HAVE HAD 3 DIFFERENT COACHING PHILOSOPHIES.

A coach - teacher is expected to coach to the abilities of his linemen, not to the level he wishes they were. Once you get your own recruits - if you are around long enough - that's when you introduce your real philosophy. You may have earned that right by then. We fans have come to expect excellence in our coaches, yet this year all we get is "Lack, Loss, Limitation" as Norman Vincent Peale would say. We fans do not want to hear that - and that does not constitute coaching from the stands - where I have been sitting for twice as long as you have been alive.

The quarterbacks have had 3 coaches all with different philosophies.

See above - coach what you have, even if you must change your precious 1970's philosophy until you get your own guy. (wasn't Rettig recruited by Spaziani/Tranquill with their 90 years of coaching experience?) They publicly exclaim that their hands are tied because he's only a freshman - while other successful major colleges play freshmen without crying in public.

What we do want is enthusiasm and excitement for the honor of coaching/teaching major college football players. You will not hear new basketball coach Donahue complaining about the bare cupboard - you adjust and embrace the opportunity. That's what we expect of Tranquill and Spaziani and others on the staff - excitement, pride, let's give it the old college try, etc.

Lack, Loss, Limitation - we're sick of it, and that does not constitute grandstand coaching by stiffs who have no real knowledge of the game. Give us a break, kid. Learn something down there in the heat and humidity.

When you have a certain personnel package on the field and everyone watching knows what you are going to do - but especially the opposing team that has been coached on what to expect (run up the middle without the lead fullback) - that is unacceptable. This attitude does not constitute grandstand coaching. We fans want effort and imagination. Example - I have seen the old "Hook and Ladder" play several times this season - and the play has been successful for touchdowns. This is not rocket science - plays like that have been around since the start of modern football. What do we do? Instead of mixing it up, we run it up the middle when every fan, player and opposing coach knows exactly what's coming.

This is not what you think it is, KThomas - what this is is a disgrace! This is BORING! This is a team of hardworking student-athletes that is UN-WATCHABLE through no fault of its own. And now that I think of it, we haven't heard very much, IF ANY, excitement or positives coming from this staff since they took over. Boston L.L.L. College - we can't do it because we didn't recruit these bums, and we can't be held accountable until we line our retirement accounts for a few more years - and by then, who gives a shit!

I'll stop here for now - I feel like punching a hole through my hotel room wall.

I will still (and always will) root for this team, knowing what they have to overcome in order to have a chance at winning a game.

Big Jack Krack said...
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Big Jack Krack said...
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Nebby A said...

Good post ATL.

A few thoughts on BC's last three coaches:

TOB – steady, disciplined, unemotional…after a long stretch of success, fans were upset about his comments about BC football basically having a ceiling (due to academic standards, lack of fan support, etc.). In the end, TOB wanted to move on and the BC donors (and Gene) were happy to bid him farewell.

Jags – charismatic, confident, delegated to experienced assistants, but didn't seem to put in the effort on the recruiting the end, he proved to be a good coach, but BC was always just a stepping stone on his way back to the league. His ability as a head coach will always be questioned since he inherited Matty Ice…who most would consider a top 10 QB in the last decade. Jags seemed to prove TOB’s ceiling theory wrong, but he wasn’t around long enough to prove that he could achieve sustained success.

Spaz - excellent coordinator and effective recruiter, but doesn't seem to be cut out to lead a team…anyone who saw the press conference following the VTech loss understands that Spaz is not confident in his team, doesn’t exude confidence when he speaks, makes excuses for losing, throws his players under the bus, and is indecisive in his decision making. In my 10 years following BC football, the Spaz era has seen the most lopsided losses (Clemson and VTech in 2009, as well as the 2010 losses), which in the absence of a significant drop off in talent, must be the result of poor coaching. Spaz is loyal to BC, which Gene put an emphasis on during the hiring process after the Jags era came to an end. Loyalty is great if it is coupled with success…but without winning football games, it doesn’t mean a whole lot…

So we’ve seen a bit of everything over the past 4+ years…I believe in giving Spaz a chance, but if the team loses out or doesn’t show significant improvement (the result of good coaching) coming down the stretch then Gene has to make a move…there’s no spin campaign for 2-10.

CT said...

Gotta say...BJK, you're on the money.

The arrogance of the "sit in the stands" post was humorous. You know, because it's brain surgery.

LSU has two QBs who are equally if not more crappy than ours. Have you seen Jarret Lee or Jefferson play? They're awful. While I'd never compare the talent they have at the skill positions or on defense with BC (sadly, they're better), and as bad as Miles is at clock management (he's a moron), they still play to their strengths and despite a horrific offense got to #6 in the country (this yr and Jefferson killed GT in the Peach Bowl 2 yrs ago) and may very well make a BCS bowl or at least a January bowl game in the toughest conference in the country. We play in maybe the 4th or 5th best conference in the country. In a down year. So, yes, it's on the coaches.


Again, let me reiterate. Les Miles is. A. Moron.

Check the LSU boards. They'll agree.

The SEC has led the country in 11 of the last 13 yrs in the numbers of players drafted in the NFL draft. Miami had 19 1st rounders from '01-'04 when they were a dynasty. Coaches can't screw up talent. Meyer looks ordinary without Tebow. Peterson looks brilliant with Moore. Players make plays.

Give me one good QB and I'll look past the sorry excuse for playmakers we have.

Our best DBs long? were Silva, a backup safety on the Colts, Tribble, who got a sniff of the practice squad with the Chargers, Walls and Blackmon, who made it. In the last 15 yrs, how many DBs were drafted or stuck in the NFL? Does anyone know?

Wide Receivers? One big-time threat here would make a HUGE difference. See AJ Green. Or that drunkard Blackmon. Seriously, when is the last time we had a big-time WR? Gunnell doesn't count for those in the northeast. Pete Mitchell? I honestly don't know. How many have been drafted? Some say this doesn't matter. When you're in a league with FSU and Miami and VT and Clemson, this most definitely matters. Even GTech has put out 2 1st round WRs in the last few yrs. With Reggie Ball at QB and Option Nesbitt. Yikes.

Running Backs? Green? A head case. Cloud? Sniffed the Chiefs, right?

A great QB, like Ryan, can more than make up for a talent deficiency. Imagine the difference if he'd had a go-to WR, a playmaker to throw to. In the absence of a really good QB, however, the talent gap becomes glaring. Unless, of course, we're all happy with 8 wins and a Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl because, well, SF is a great American city, esp. in late December when it's really cold and rainy.

I agree with ATL and others that Tranquill and Spaz have seriously underperformed and screwed up the QB situation. But good talent would compensate. We haven't. Maybe there are some in recent classes that can do it. I'm hopeful. But to suggest that this is strictly just a coaching issue--well, I guess if you expect 8 wins you might be right--is silly.

CT said...

Okay. I had a couple before that last post. I only meant half of it.

Not expecting Fla. or USC. But a couple game-changing studs would work every now and then.


Big Jack Krack said...

CT and All - there's no question we can use more talent and speed. In the meantime, let's give it the old college try, coaches.

Use the Whiteboard in the locker room - ask the players for suggestions - anything - your offensive stuff isn't working and was never going to work.

Let's not be insane - let's change around the offensive game plan, because that's what it is - offensive.

Let's hope Clemson comes out flat due to the empty stadium and chilly 50 degrees at kickoff.

maggie said...

CT -- so, so kewl that you can stay up late and write insightful and witty stuff when you are drunk. Tell me: are you a senior, junior or grad student in literature at BC?

Gosh, you remind me of Faulkner or Hemingway, or if you prefer, Hunter Thompson or Jack Kerouac (almost a BC guy, ya know). Either or any way, wicked kewl.

But for the love of Dixie, please don't read Timothy Leary or Carlos Castenada before you comment .... there is not enough room for interesting thoughts that are that long here.

Alex L. said...

Hey, until CT descends into the depths of that one Syracuse post, he can drunk-post all he wants.

And BJK, I admit I'm a little detached from BC football this year, but did you say that we had plays where we ran it up the middle WITHOUT a leading fullback? Is that true?

If that's true, that's an excellent example of taking average to above-average talent (like what BC has) and combining it with atrocious coaching. With the exception of Barry Sanders, there's no way any talented tailback would succeed long-term with that kind of play.

Scott said...

Great thread, and lots of good points ATL (aside from the overly literal critique that Spaz inherited 2-4 ... she was saying he inherited problems/holes that lead to 2-4). My 2 cents.

Overall Attrition is BS: Every program has it, and BC's rate has been relatively constant, and probably much better than factories that also deal with arrests, early-draft entries, and plum-dumb drop outs.

Targeted Attrition is BS: Overall attrition is irrelevant. What matters is loosing corner-stones, at critical spots, where you were already too thin. BC has been relatively lucky here.
- Montel completely saved us from the Hayden bust and Finch injury. Williams is coming along well.
- Lost some awesome LBs when we had the rare luxury of awesome depth.
- Conner, murray held the forte with quinn/scafe out and Ramsey getting back in shape.
- o-Line is paper thin, but no injuries. Center is not a surprise.
- Losing Davis/Tuggle didn't really hurt, they weren't pocket passers.

Targeted attrition has stung BC in only two places.
- Larmond was the only playmaker to soften things for Montel,
- Losing I.Johnson after 5 promising corners left leaves us slow and small, even with the cushion.
- Losing Albright will hurt going forward, but irrelevant to games 1-6.

O-Line is BS: Sure, changing O-Line systems affects depth and development, but we have 4 experienced guys built for this system. We may feel it next year, but it's not an excuse for this year.

New Offensive system: Normally, 3 very different systems in 4 years would hurt, except we're playing all young guys. Plus, I don't even know what our offensive identity is. New system doesn't explain anything.

The only huge holes that I truly feel Spaz inherited was a deplorable situation at QB and WR. The position was barely recruited the last 4-5 years, and most were flyers with unspectacular offers and real limitations to boot. All the talent lies in the frosh/RSF class, so (amazingly) these positions will probably be a real strength in 1-2 years (only with quality coaching, which I have yet to see)

I know some will say "but Spaz was on the staff while QB and WR were ignored, so his fault too." That's the only one I can't buy, b/c TOB/Bible/Jags/Logan were offensive guys. Bible was militant about his QBs, Jags/logan wanted a different style, struck out on all big big prospects, and WR was just pathetic.

That's the only situation I won't hold against Spaz, but the others don't impress me.